chapter  1
16 Pages

Unreal and unflat worlds

A popular book in the 1990s, Singer and Wildavsky’s (1993) The Real World Order, divided the post-Cold War world into two zones – one of peace and the other of turmoil. The peaceful one was composed of wealthy and democratic states located in Western Europe, North America, Japan, and the South Pacifi c, and comprised about 15 percent of the world’s population. The other zone encompassed the rest of the world’s population, living in lesser developed states, often authoritarian, and occasionally embroiled in internal and external confl icts. The emergence of such a segmented world, accompanied by the anomaly of a single surviving superpower, was expected to give rise to a new form of international politics. Even so, the authors of this perspective believed that such a world had to be transitional. While the peaceful zone would continue to remain wealthy and democratic, states in the zone of turmoil would gradually develop, democratize, and join the peaceful zone. Every 20 years or so, the size of the peaceful zone was expected to expand. Just how long it would take to eliminate the zone of turmoil was not predicted, but eliminated it would be and without wealth transfers from the rich to the poor. The poor states would emulate the rich and bring their economies up to modern speed, progressively removing any barriers to the natural propensity toward development and democratization, as portrayed in Figure 1.1.